Israel’s air strikes on the Gaza Strip have heightened the tensions surrounding the Palestinian bid for observer membership at the United Nations planned for later this month.

The Palestinian UN envoy said Wednesday’s attack was deliberately timed to torpedo the UN vote in two weeks and influence Israel’s general election in January. Israel’s UN ambassador retorted that events in Gaza had shown the futility of the Palestinian campaign for international recognition. The new military strikes on Gazacome as the United Nations and many key players warn that time is running out to establish a Palestinian state. The US and Israeli governments say there can be no Palestinian state without direct peace talks. The Palestinians refuse talks while Israel expands its settlements in the occupied territories. The Israeli ambassador warned the Security Council meeting that Palestinian success at the United Nations could lead to more violence.

“I believe part of the timing of the attack… is trying to divert attention away from our energies in mobilizing the international community” for the UN vote, said Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour.AFP